Escape Hunt, the global provider of live “Escape the Room” experiences, is providing the following strategic and operational update.
The Board is pleased with the progress made as it has continued to develop the approach to growing this early stage business. After a detailed review of the competitive landscape, which has given further confidence in both the strategy and the market opportunity, the Group has adapted its approach to property to target premium, city centre sites with high footfall and close to potential corporate customers.
Escape Hunt has also significantly strengthened the management team with a number of senior hires who bring substantial experience in working with international entertainment brands. This has enabled the group to start work on evolving the brand across the group as well as commencing early stage conversations with regard to licensing partnerships with leading entertainment, content and brand owners for new “Escape the Room” concepts.
At the time of the publication of the interim results on 18 September, Escape Hunt announced that it was in process to acquire leases on eight sites across the UK in 2017. Five of these leases have now been signed and the additional three leases are in the final stages of negotiation, pending planning. Planning issues have contributed to the delay in the opening of initial UK sites and their associated revenues but the commercial terms of the leases have been within management expectations and the Board is pleased to have secured some excellent locations. In addition, there is a good pipeline of further sites where commercial negotiations are under way.
The fit-out work at the Birmingham site is almost complete and is due to open in early 2018. Works are underway at the Bristol and Leeds sites, with Edinburgh and Oxford fit-out work due to start in early 2018.
A marketing team has been established ahead of the UK launch in Birmingham and the design and delivery processes are being improved and strengthened to ensure a seamless and integrated system. A number of partners have been identified who will provide the enhanced delivery capability for games to be delivered with reduced lead times and ensuring brand and quality consistency. This process can be applied for the benefit of franchisees, as well as to the Company’s own sites.
Escape Hunt recently launched its first app “Escape Hunt: The Lost Temples” with a positive AppStore reaction. The international franchise business continues to perform well and Escape Hunt’s EBITDA loss before exceptional costs for 2017 is in line with management expectations.
Richard Harpham, Escape Hunt Chief Executive Officer, said:
“We have been putting in place solid foundations to deliver growth of the business and we remain confident about our ambitions over the next three years. All of the work we have completed to date shows us that Escape Hunt has significant competitive advantage and that with the right approach to property, brand and people will deliver exciting Escape Room experiences to customers.”
|Escape Hunt plc|
|Richard Harpham||07584 173958|
|Alistair Rae||07736 883934|
|Peel Hunt LLP|
|Adrian Trimmings, George Sellar||020 7418 8900|
|Stockdale Securities Ltd|
|Daniel Harris, Hanan Lee|
|Fiona Conroy (Corporate Broking)||020 7601 6100|
|Susanna Voyle, Will Smith||020 7353 4200|